Since the invention of basketball – the most beautiful sport we all love and play – we have seen many things attempted on professional and recreational courts worldwide. Because putting the ball through the hoop is the ultimate aim in a basketball game, many types of shots have been tested and perfected to score more easily or to get some advantage over defenders.
You’re in the right place if you want to;
- Learn more about what type of shot you can start working on and use next time you’re on the court
- Learn about most basic shots as a beginner in the game of basketball
- Get to know about a type of shot you have heard or seen, but are not sure what it is exactly
- You are a student of the game, and you want to learn as much as possible about basketball
Whatever the reason you are here today – we have got you covered. There are many different types of basketball shots to learn and many different things to consider, such as balance, good form, shooting motion, the timing of a shot release, etc. Although it may seem like a lot, with practice it comes naturally and you can use our guidelines as a basis which you can build upon on the basketball court.
In an attempt to be better than a defensive player, an offensive player must master different types of basketball shots and use them in appropriate situations. The more shots a player perfects, the more weapons he can utilize. The player has a higher chance of beating a defender and scoring for his team, ultimately bringing his team a win.
Depending on the position, role, and physical attributes a player has, some basketball shots are easier to perform than others. In most cases, the playstyle of taller basketball players differs from shorter ones, which means that playstyle can impact a lot on the frequency of the type of shot a player takes. For example, taller players who play more in the short-range will more often use a slam dunk or catch an alley-oop, while shorter players will opt out for a three-point shot or a fade away. Younger players need to keep in mind that this is not the rule because a player can perfect any type of shot he/she wants.
In addition, if you possess a good technical ability and have various shots “in your bag”, it will be easier to pick one when facing different types of defenders. If you are facing a stronger, taller defender, try to drive past them and finish with a lay-up or a floater. If, however, you are matched up against someone shorter and quicker, it might be a better idea to play on the low post and attempt a hook shot or take a jump shot. If you are confused right now, do not worry, in the further text, there will be an explanation of the shots mentioned.
Learning a shot type also needs to be performed in the right way from the start, which is also worth mentioning. A shooting technique is really important because the proper execution will allow you to use a shot effectively and give you more advantage. When practicing a shot, try to repeat it as many times until it feels natural and it does not require a ton of effort.
Also Read: Basketball Hoop Height By Age
The easiest shot in basketball is a layup. It is performed nearest to the hoop and there are three different ways to use it:
- one-foot layup
- two-foot layup
- reverse layup
It is a must-have for any player because it is the most basic and most used basketball shot. It always makes sense to try to get yourself into this position and shoot a layup if you can.
One-foot layup is realized during a drive to the basket. Ideally, a straight line drive is the best, because it is the most effective and the least amount of energy is being lost. This type of layup is the finish of such a drive and it is important to dribble and finish with one hand and jump off the opposite leg.
If you are attacking the right side of the court, the easiest way is to dribble and do a layup with your right hand, while you will be leaping a left foot. The same goes in another case: dribble and finish with the left hand, jump off the right foot.
Keep in mind that this does not have the be the case all the time, layups can be performed with the same “side of a body” if the situation requires this.
Two-foot layup is a more stable version. It allows for great balance and better position than one-foot ones because it is easier to use any hand from this stance to score a field goal. It can be executed if you find yourself below the rim and receive a pass or it can be an alternative to a one-foot layup if that one is not available when driving to the hoop.
A reverse layup is used when you do not have a good approach to the front of the rim. It is performed under the net from the opposite side of the approach to the net. The fundamentals of this layup stay the same as for the previous two, the finishing side is the only difference.
To do this, you need to perform an underhand shot. To use it correctly a ball control with fingers is necessary. Hold the ball mostly with your fingers and less with your palm while in the air. At the very end of this motion, let the ball slide down your fingers, and congratulations, you just made a finger roll.
The Jump Shot
Besides layups, the jump shot is one of the most common types of basketball shots. The name itself says that to perform this shot, you need to jump, from a set position off two feet while executing this. Pay attention that you have a solid foundation during the start of this motion.
As for the finishing sequence, which is the release of a ball from your hand, look after the timing of the release. You want to make a shot when you reach the highest point of the jump. You do not want to release the ball either too early or too late.
The jump shot can be taken from different distances from the hoop. Depending on the zone you are taking a shot from, the jump shots can be close-range shots, long-range shots, or mid-range jumpers (jumper being a synonym for the jump shot).
The Free Throw
The free throw shot is awarded to a player which gets fouled and as a result is sent to a free throw line. A player takes the shot there without any defense and the value of this basket is one point.
This shot is usually taken without the jump because it ensures better control over your body and the distance from a rim is short, so there is no need to generate power with a jump.
It is important to remain calm and to develop a fluid motion when you are at a free-throw line. It is called “the easiest shot in basketball” and indeed you want to score as many points from this position if given a chance.
The Hook Shot
The purpose of a hook shot is to make sure you are putting a ball over a defender when near the basket, while simultaneously protecting it from getting blocked with your off-hand.
If you are turned with your left side to an opponent shield yourself with your left shoulder. When taking a shot use your right hand which is further away from the basket and raise your left arm to protect your shooting arm. The same goes for the opposite side as well.
The hook shot can be performed either by jumping off one foot or two feet.
A bank shot is not as popular as it used to be but is still a dangerous weapon nevertheless. It is a great tool to use when you are faced with the rim at strange angles.
The point of a bank shot is to use a backboard to bounce the ball inside the rim. It takes practice and hard work as all shots require, but after multiple repetitions, you will get a feel of what spot to aim at a backboard. The bank shot can be used with any other type of shot, but it is not that common.
The fadeaway shot is one of the hardest shots in basketball. Players who come to mind when talking about this shot are Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, and other great shooters. It is their trademark and what that tells us is that the greatest players of all time have managed to perfect this shot.
Fade away is used to create a separation between yourself and a defensive player. To perform this you need to possess good balance and footwork. In most cases, you need to be back turned to your defender. Before going for a shot, to have even more advantage, make sure to do one of two following things:
- Throw a feint at your defender to send him in one direction. Try to pivot in a different direction to create some space and be as stable as you can.
- Push off your defender without making an offensive foul and pull yourself back with a step.
After doing the previous step, lean away from the defender while taking a shot. If you have done everything in a good way, the opposing player will not recover quickly enough and will not be able to block your shot.
The Slam Dunk
Probably the most popular shot besides the three-point jumper is the slam dunk. This is the shot that everyone likes to see performed best and all players to try to emulate it (I have tried and it is hard!)
To make a slam dunk, a player must jump very high to have the hand along the ball above the rim. This is certainly easier when a player is a taller individual or he has longer arms and bigger palms. A slam dunk can be performed with one foot, two feet, with one hand or two hands, it does not matter as long as the ball is dunked through the rim.
If performed attractively, it is one of the best ways to motivate fans who watch the game as well as players on the court. The higher the jump, the stronger the finish, and more creativity in the air lead to a more emphatic dunk.
Another highly-attractive shot that requires two teammates working together to perform this. A player that finishes this sequence can put the ball in the basket either by slam dunk or a layup.
Both teammates need to have a feel for timing and great coordination. A teammate who has the ball has to throw it in the air to have it at the right spot when the other player catches it in mid-air and finishes at the rim before landing. This is an even more difficult shot to perform when taking game speed into account. Alley-oop is often performed in pick-and-roll and fastbreak situations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the correct way to take a shot?
A: To shoot accurately, square your shoulders to the basket and place your feet shoulder-length apart. With your knees bent slightly and back leaning towards the basket, put the fingers of your shooting hand under the ball and tuck your elbows close to your body. Flick your wrist towards the hoop to release the shot.
Q: What is the best shot to learn as a beginner?
A: The Layup or a jump shot.
Q: How many times do I have to repeat a shot until I get good at it?
A: There is no rule, it depends from person to person. Professional basketball players are working on a single shot over their whole career, so you can always get better at a certain shot. Malcolm Gladwell famously said it takes ‘10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials’
Q: Who are some of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA?
A: Three-point shooters: Stephen Curry, Ray Allen, and Reggie Miller. Mid-range shooters: Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan.
By mastering different types of shots you enable yourself to become a bigger threat on the court. Having multiple shots at your disposal gives you the possibility to switch it up and go for something else if a certain type of shot is not going in that day. But knowing how to perform any shot is not the only key to success. You need to think quickly, read your opponent, and strategize accordingly. And remember practice makes perfect 🙂
This article covers some of the more basic shots worth mentioning. There are others which can get more complicated and advanced. It seems like every year in the National Basketball Association someone popularizes a brand new type of shot. That is why this game is incredible and always evolving. No matter what, there is always a way to improve and work on yourself to become a better shooter and a better player!